Friday, March 4, 2011

15 Demands

03.01.2011 23:08

Levon Ter-Petrossian’s 15 Demands Approved by March 1 Demonstrators

The Armenian National Congress (HAK) rally today on the third anniversary of the events of Mar. 1, 2008, when mass protests were violently dispersed by law enforcement officials following disputed presidential elections that left 10 people dead and many more injured, has come to an end. The last person to speak before demonstrators marched down the streets of the Armenian capital was first president of the Republic of Armenia and HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrossian. During his speech, he suggested demonstrators approve the following 15 demands he would like to issue to Armenia’s current ruling authorities:

1. Until Mar. 15, that is, until [Parliamentary Assembly of the] Council of Europe co-rapporteurs’ Yerevan visit, release all those prisoners imprisoned for their political views and activities: Sasun Mikaelyan, Nikol Pashinyan, Harutyun Urutyan, Aram Bareghamyan, Sargis Hatspanyan, Murad Bojolyan, Ara Hovhannisyan, Shmavon Galstyan and Roman Mnatsakanyan.

2. Create an independent international commission to examine the events of March 1 [2008] or reinstate the fact-finding group, with the inclusion of international experts and to aim to fully disclose and punish before the law all those guilty for this monstrous crime committed by the ruling authorities.

3. Fully compensate the material damages of all citizens who suffered from the March 1 crime, particularly allocating $1 million to families of those who died and at least $100,000 to families of the injured.

4. Stop the constant threats and violence against informed groups, blocking the main roads on the days of rallies, and police warnings and intimidation tactics that aim to keep citizens from rallies and from political activity in general, and to eliminate the unlawful prohibition on holding rallies in Liberty Square.

5. In fulfilling the irreversible ruling by the European Court, finally reinstate A1+ TV station’s activities, hold all those officials who violated this ruling strictly accountable and generally eliminate full state control on electronic information resources.

6. Stop the authorities’ adopted bellicose and threatening rhetoric, and, with the aim of transferring the Karabakh settlement process to a normal direction, immediately reinstate the negotiations’ former format, in which, based on a decision at the OSCE Budapest Summit, the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh became a full party to the conflict.

7. Annul the ban on street trade and the ill-fated adopted decisions on the closing of small shops after 8 pm and compulsory vehicle insurance, as well as reinstating the former amount of customs duties on imported goods.

8. Eliminate the unlawful Value Added Tax for cars imported for personal use (and not for sale), which, added to customs duties and the environmental tax, becomes an unbearable burden for the consumer and forces thousands of people to pay customs fees for their cars in neighboring Georgia.

9. Make the minimum [monthly] salary in the Republic of Armenia $200; employment insurance, 50% of that ($100); and the average pension, 40% of the average salary ($112).

10. Remove from parliament the bill for discussion on amendments to RA Labor Law Article 142, according to which the question of defining the work week as 6 days is left to the employer’s discretion, as well as making a corresponding amendment to the Code, mandating employers to compensate employees with three-months’ worth of pay in case of dismissal.

11. Allocate state subsidies for the most important agricultural production, keeping in mind the market price in any given year, the processing conditions of the corridors [where land is cultivated] and the strategic significance of border lands.

12. Announce and publish in the media the belongings and incomes of all former and current high-ranking state officials during Armenia’s independence and their families, beginning from presidents, prime ministers, ministers, deputy ministers, marzpets [regional governors], mayors and ending with judges, prosecutors, generals and National Assembly (previously, the Supreme Council) deputies.

13. For the shameful shortcomings in economic management and ensuring order, tyranny or just being untalented in their professions, dismiss from their posts Republic of Armenia Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan, Central Bank President Artur Javadyan, State Revenues Committee Chair Gagik Khachatryan, Yerevan Mayor Karen Karapetyan, RA General Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan, National Security Service Chief Gorik Hakobyan, RA Police Chief Alik Sargsyan, RA Special Investigative Service Chief Andranik Mirzoyan, head of the penitentiary department at the Ministry of Justice Hayk Harutyunyan.

14. The rally also considers it necessary to call on international agencies, and the governments of the United States of America and the European Union to stop supporting Armenia’s authoritarian administration based on geopolitical considerations, which not only does nothing to promote democratic reform, but also strengthening the regime’s positions more, at last count, is directed against the people, which becomes quite evident in light of recent events in Arab countries, and which even Western politicians and independent analysts confess.

15. In the case of the noted demands or a significant part of the demands being carried out, the rally authorizes the Armenian National Congress to begin a working dialogue with the authorities, having on the agenda the sole issue of holding pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections.

Demonstrators “voted” in favor of these demands by raising their voices.
“As for what process this announcement will undergo or what type of response it will receive from the authorities, together with you we will discuss this and make corresponding conclusions at the next rally, which will take place on Mar. 17…

Accordingly, from now on, the Armenian National Congress rallies will turn from current political actions to a unique public self-governming forum, with the full authority of making decisions and exercising them,” concluded the HAK leader.

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